Clemson Extension announces forest management workshops for woodland owners
GREENVILLE — The Clemson Extension Forestry and Wildlife team has announced a series of workshops designed to educate landowners about the ecological and financial benefits of proper woodland management.
The opening workshop, “Woodland Management: The First Look,” will be held at four different locations across South Carolina. The first will be at Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville Thursday, Dec. 1, and will be followed by courses at three of Clemson’s research and education enters: Pee Dee REC in Florence on Jan. 12, Edisto REC in Blackville on Jan. 26 and Sandhill REC in Columbia on Feb. 10.
“Our team wants to become even more visible to our landowners so that we can improve our efforts to promote forestry and wildlife education and outreach,” said Derrick Phinney, a Clemson Cooperative Extension natural resources division leader based in Dorchester. “We have some landowners in South Carolina who are unfamiliar with the proper steps to take in order to properly manage their woodland. Also, they don’t realize their properties’ value and potential. Our goal is to attract landowners early on and walk them through the entire series.”
Except for a relatively small dip during the Great Recession, the forestry industry in South Carolina has been steadily growing, with its overall economic impact now approaching $20 billion annually. Years ago, many saw mills, paper mills and related industries owned their own land, which gave them a direct source to the fiber. But more recently, many of these large landholders began selling off their properties and are now looking for wood from private landowners to meet their demands.
“This makes privately owned land more valuable because there are now more markets for owners to sell their timber and other wood products,” said Phinney, who has been involved in land management and environmental regulations for close to 20 years. “With better management, they can increase the value of their forests without spending a lot of money – and get greater returns from their land.”
Here are some of the targeted areas for the first series:
- Objectives in forest management,
- Benefits of proper management,
- Wildlife management basics,
- Life of a stand,
- Selling your timber and
- Opportunities for youth involvement.
“What we’re hoping to see is woodland owners across the state acquiring the basic principles of management and then eventually putting those principles into action,” said Jeff Fellers, an Extension area forestry agent based in Union. “The first series of classes will be especially helpful for beginners. They’re the ones we want to reach and try to get them thinking, ‘Hey, if I manage my land better, it will be better for the environment while also producing revenue for me.’ ”
But the “First Look” program isn’t just for new timberland owners. More experienced ones can also benefit from the initial series by gaining more knowledge, hands-on experience and a list of valuable resources.
“It’s likely our participants will have varying levels of knowledge about forestry, so another thing we would like to provide them is the resources they’ll need to succeed at any level,” said Carolyn Dawson, an Extension area forestry agent based in Walhalla. “Landowners can always come to us as their first stopping point. But we can make sure they’re headed in the right direction by helping get them in touch with a logger or a consultant, if needed.”
The cost of each workshop is $50 per person and class size will be limited to 50 participants. To register, contact Paula Varn at 843-563-5773. You can also sign up online at www.clemson.edu/Extension/Forestry. “The First Look” series will be followed by more advanced workshops later in 2017 and beyond. The dates of these are yet to be determined.
“At the end of the day, our goal is to make sure that landowners are happy, which means getting them the information they need so we’ve tailored this series along these lines,” said Stephen Pohlman, an Extension area forestry agent based in Edgefield. “We’ll try to present this at a level that anyone can understand and not feel overwhelmed when they leave. But at the same time, we’ll want to be certain they’ve acquired a good working knowledge of what’s going on, so that they’ll be able to carry on a constructive conversation with a consulting forester and better understand the terminology.”